>> a sailor who was with jfk aboard pt-109. >> the young man's mother begins a correspondents with the future president. >> i was shocked. >> the letters are tucked away for years. >> they could be of historical value, and worth a lot of month. >> this is a pressure that surfaces that no one knew existed. >> if they could prove they are real. >> the signatures look authentic. >> this is eye real signature? >> this is a real jfk si signat. >> will bidders open their wallet? >> looking for 100.
110, now 120. jamie: i am jamie colby, i am on my way to fall river, massachusets about an hour south of boston, i am going to meet a man whose strang strange inher 0 begins with his family powerful connection to a future preside president. >> i am dennis harkins, my mother passed in 1990, she left us with correspondents regarding our uncle harold who was lost in south pacific during world war ii. jamie: i am jamie. what is this place? >> our en eithe inheritance. >> the ship, let's check it out. >> reporter: battleship code museum here has two of last
remaining pt boats from world war ii, his uncle harley, joined navy in 1941. >> he was the typicalismish younger brother. then a month later here will pearl harbor. with u.s. at war, harl is shipped to the south pacific, he puts in a request to join a pt boat crew, which means patroler to meado torpedo, and they had twin machine gun turrets. >> they could lay low in the water, wait for the enemy ships to pass, then attack with the torpedos. >> the museum curator shows me around, tight quarters.
quarters. why the moss quito -- mosquito fleet. >> they could infection you with malaria, they were deadly and fast. jamie: harl's captain, 26-year-old navy lieutenant, john f. kennedy. >> so, this is where kennedy, lieutenant junior grade, controlled the ship from? >> correct. jamie: right here, you could barely see over, and they operated in the dark of night. >> yes. jamie: 4 feel the away is where harold was operateing that turret this puts it in perspective. >> idea was to go out attack the destroyers and sink them. jamie: no radar? >> the 109 had no radar. >> on one such night august 1,
1943, out of darkness. a japanese destroyer traveling at 40 knots. 19-year-old harold marney is stationed in that gun turret. >> he gave the alarm, ship at 2:00. >> reporter: 2:00. jamie: the ship slices right through pt109. >> right here this wing tank, actually exploded. jamie: hard to imagine anyone could have survived. >> things happened so fast, he probably got sucked into the weight of the ship. jamie: harold and a second sailor andrew did not have a chance, the surviving sailors swam to a small string of islands and take refuge until they are rescued 6 days later, lute kennedy writes to harl's mother, jennie marney. >> this letter to offer my
deepest sympathy for the loss of your son. jamie: wrote, i realize there is nothing that i can say can make your sorrow less, hammer cal hae aboard my boat, jennie wrote back, thanks him for his letter, asking if it was possible her son could still be alive, kennedy spend ons, we could find no trace of him. although every effort was made to find him. i am terribly sorry they cannot be of more help or encouragement. >> my grandmother, jennie was from am hurst, nova scotia. she was proper. jamie: and feels she made a friend in 1944, mom learns that kennedy will be in boston to get treated for the back injuries he
sustained on pt109, she goes to visit him in the hospital. jamie: you just don't get in to see jack kennedy. >> no. jamie: but she does more than once. >> what they talked about god only knows, i am sure they talked about harold and his brother joe. jamie: his older brother joe was a naval naive yeah, thiator, whs killed in a top-secret mission, jennie writes her own letter of condolence. i want you to know how much i appreciate your card, he says, i know you know how we all feel, boys like harold and my brother joe can never be replaced. incredible. he says, i hope i shall see you sometimes again. >> yes. jamie: in 1946, kennedy is elected to congress. 6 years later to senate, and in november 1960, kennedy wins the
white house. narrowly defeating vice president richard nixon. >> the torch has been passed to a new generation of americans born in this country. >> ke kennedy writes, sends a memorial at the wall in philippines that has been inscribeed with harold a name, he closes his letter saying, if ever you are in the nation's capital, i would like very much to have the white house and other public places shown to you, then that awful day, november 1963. jamie: president kennedy of shot today just as his motorcade left downtown dallas. the end of the white house camelot years, and end of mum's relationship with the most
powerful man in the world. jennie marney dies in 1973. and bequest her carefully preserveed letters from kennedy to her daughter elaine, and she gave them to her son in 1985, 5 years before she died. >> i said oh, wow, and promptly put them in a safe deposive box. jamie: there they remained for a quarter century, but a surprise phone call from a straeufrpbl strangeer. >> i got on the phone, and there was a strange message, are you the nephew of pt109 crew member harl marney. >> what is the most expensive piece of presidential memorabilia sold at auction?
>> it is a, geroge sheldon george washington draft cop of the constitution. jamie: for years jennie marney correspondents with john f kennedy. they remained friends until jfk's assassination in 1963, neither dennis harkins or frances piorek who were half brothers ever met their uncle. >> i heard just whispers, he was on pt109, and kennedy was the commander. jamie: frances catching the jeaniology bug. >> i realized i know not know about my family. jamie: he is looking for any unknown relatives of harold marney, his message goes
unnoticed until 2013, when brian willis, posts petition to place a headstone for marney in a veteran cemetery near springfield massachusets. >> i could not find him anywhere. honored, not even in springfield, and he was from east spring field. jamie: brian comes across frances' post from way back in 2001. >> i got a phone, and left a strange message. are you the nephew of pt109 crew member marney. >> it was stronging to get a call off the blue. jamie: in august 2013 that grave stone is placed at veteran's cemetery. idennis is thinking about those letters written to his grandmother that he has been holding on to for 25 years. isn't it time he did something with them. but then a reckoning for dennis and frances, the brother john
dies of diabetes at age of 57. >> it makes you start to think about what do you want to do with the rest of your life. because his death was unexpected. jamie: they retrieveed letter that frances had never seen. >> i was shocked when i say what the letters detailed. jamie: why now? >> the driving thing was the loss of our brother john. >> a wake up you know, i'm not get anything younger. >> these documents could be of historical value, and worth a lot of money. jamie: you had a big decision to make. >> i felt they were worth something. jamie: a number? >> 30 or 40,000 dollars perhaps. jamie: he did not pull that number out of a hat, the son of andrew kirk sold his
grandmother's letter for 9500 dollars. >> was it worth 9500 or 20,000 we had no idea. jamie: but they are about to learn, that authenticateing jfk documents for auction is more complicated. >> you need to know if you buy a john f. kennedy letter, he is one of the most forgeed autographs. jamie: is it easy or difficult to spot a fake. >> jfk is perhaps the most difficult. jamie: that is next on strange inher/10. >inheritance. >> a question for you, babe ruth is most forgeed autograph of all-times, what is the most outside of the sports world? neil armstrong? marilyn monroe? marilyn monroe? or e
and a 97% on-time rate, xfinity is perfect for people with a busy life. >> what is the posted forgeed signature outside of the sports world? it is elvis presley. jamie: for 25 years, dennis harkins keeps an old family heirloom storeed away in a safety deposit box, 4 letters written to his grandmother, jennie marney by john f. kennedy, three handwritten before he became president, and one typewritten on white house stationnary. he and his brother died it is decide it is time to sell. >> kennedy is a very important
figure in american history. people really related to the kennedy family. chairs of jacquelin kennedy shoes sell for $30 now. $30,000. jamie: they hold their own unique value, back to that mission on the pt109. >> there are no other letters that we know of by john f. kennedy with his personal account of what happened that night. jamie: many a collector has been burned after plungeing dow pluna fortune for a newly discovered document that was a fake. jfk*frpbgs is thfk is the fourtt
forgeed signature. is it easy or difficult. >> he is perhaps most difficult. 80% of process is -- does the signature and handwriting match known exempt burglars, his -- exemplars, it changes so much. jamie: why would he change his signature. >> his personaly changes, and his signature changed. jamie: brothers than the handwritten letters must be re real. but bob eton cannot just take their word, he compares them to a known letter. jamie: show me. >> a letter from 1940, three
years prior. this similarities, he always had a tendency even later in life, when he made a t he would continue, he would break words up. >> confirming, they also have jfk's unique t, but how about the one from white house. jamie: president cannot sign every letter by hand what about that one. >> most of kennedy's letter from that time period were secretarial. but he had a bond with this family. jamie: this is a real signature. >> it is a real signature 92100% jamie: you are 100% sure. >> i am 110% sure. jamie: how much were they worth. >> we had never seen anything like it from kennedy, we estmeated it 50,000 or more. >> more than i thought.
jamie: anything could happen at auction. was your heart pal tateing. >> just about out of my chest. jamie: next. startup-ny. it's working for new york state. already 55 companies are investing over $98 million dollars, and creating over 2100 jobs. from long island to all across upstate new york, more businesses are coming to new york. they are paying no property taxes, no corporate taxes, no sales taxes. and with over 300 locations, and 3.7 million square feet available, there's a place that's right for your business. see if startup-ny can work for you. go to startup.ny.gov.
jamie: for 25 years dennis harkins kept his strange inher 10 locke"strangeinheritance" loe letters written to his grandmother by john f. kennedy. dennis and his brother frances are ready to sell, a small crowd gathers at a hotel, hundreds more are bidding by phone and on-line. >> this is our remarkable rarity
auction. auction. >> were started getting butterflies. what is this going to do. >> a great lot. letters, one of a kind archive to family of his lost crew mate. >> we're starting with 22,000 bid on internet, now 23,000. jamie: remember preliminary estimate for all 4. was 50 k. >> 45 on the phone, frenc. >> 55 now, 60,000. >> >> they had auction people there, they were hollering, and pushing. >> 90,000. >>95,000. looking for 100? bid 100? yes. >> now 110. >> 110, now 120. >> 130? 130,000 dollars? 140? jamie: the bidding is not over. >> 140, now 150.
>> 150. >> 150,000. >> 160 is high bid ing on the phone lookinbid ing on the phon. >> then the final call. >> this is sold . >> 3 times more than brother had originally hoped for. >> i am flabbergasted it was amazeing to watch it unfold. >> i hope that the successful bidder enjoys them, perhaps they will put them in a museum. jamie: a young man makes ultimate sacrifice for freedom that legacy he left for all of us, the let ters his commander was on the and future president writes helped light know his mother's grief, and decades later, a financial boone for family he never knew.
a "strange inheritance" indeed. how hard to part with them. >> it was hard but it was time, like an old jal opy peck up truck, you love it, but it is time to let it g time to move on. jamie: dennis a mum always relished her special relationship with john k kennedy, and not shy about calling in a favor, legend has it when mum retireed to connecticut had trouble receiving her social security benefits she turned to her friend now president kennedy for help, when letters on white house stationary arrived at the local social security office, officials there jumped to fix the problem, from then on mum always got her check on time. i am jamie colby, for strange
strang"strangeinheritance," i ay thank you for watching. >> send me an e-mail or go to our web siteit it right now. >> found in grandpa's attic. >> dirty, dusty old box. like, wow. i don't know what it is. >> a discovery that will make the baseball world flip. >> you've got honus wagner. cy young. christie matthew son. >> i'm thinking to myself, oh, my god. i have a million dollars sitting in a chair. >> but is it almost too much of a good thing? >> it certainly changes the market in a negative way. (?) ♪ jamie: i'm jamie colby. i'm in northwest ohio.
called the great black swamp. this is a family who has lived here for more than 100 years. when they unearth their "strange inheritance," they give it a code name: the "black swamp find." >> i'm karl kissner, in 2011, my cousins and i inherited the home from our aunts. we would find things in this home that we never knew existed. >> karl, a 54-year-old restaurant owner has invited me to the family home in the small town of defiance, ohio. karl, hi. i'm jamie. how are you? >> pleasure to meet you. jamie: nice to meet you too. is this the family home? >> this is grandma's home. come on in. i'll show you around. jamie: the house came into karl's family in 1949. >> needle place, but
needs tlc. >> are you saying to be careful? >> yes. jamie: karl and his cousin start the daunting task of cleaning out the home lived in for more than a century. after several weeks of sorting through the house, only the attic remains. karl and his cousin, carla decide to tackle the project. >> ladies first. >> oh, my. look at this place. jamie: the attic is empty now. but not that day in 2011. karl and carla walk in to find a century worth of dusty boxes and family heirlooms. >> literally filled to the rafters. >> all the way up to here and just a path down the middle. jamie: after several hours, they uncover a box hugging the back wall. it contains something the two cousins have never seen before. >> it was dirty, busty oldustyold box. i open it up. i don't know what it is.
>> the cousins see what appear to be small cardboard photos tightly wrapped in twine. they recognize some pretty familiar faces. >> we're looking at it. baseball players. cy young. tiger. they're not baseball cards. not to us. they look like baseball cards. miniaturized. no who made it. no nothing. >> how many we talking about? >> hundreds. jamie: amazing. you see the box. you take them out. what do you and carla say? >> actually we set them on a dresser in the hallway and dove into the attic. >> soon karl starts to ponder where the strange cards may have come from. where they something the aunt collected off a cereal box? or maybe they go back to his grandfather karl hench. >> he works his way through chicago. german immigrant. towards the ohio valley.
>> he's chasing the american dream, to own a home and start a business. karl is a butcher by trade. by 1905, scraped enough to open his own shop here in defiance. a meat market. he sells candies and other grocery items. >> was he successful? >> very successful as a butcher in town. >> in 1909, he marries his love jenny. they start a family and buy that dream home. by now, baseball has long established itself as the national past time. for decades, very companies have used baseball cards to sell their products. >> the first nationally circulated cards came in packages of tobacco. it was the opportunity for the average citizen to own a photo. >> candy companies jump into the game. caramel cart helped sell
the top people of the day. >> cy young. christie matthewson. >> children'children love the candy, but cards even more. >> children traded them. >> all karl and carla know is that the cards may have come from their grandfather's store. >> our guess is that he would have given them away as promotional items. when you have leftovers, you save them for the next promotion. >> beyond that, karl isn't sure what they have in the box. he tells his cousin, he'll find out. the box sits on that dresser for a few days. and almost gets thrown out several times. before karl brings it to his restaurant to research the cards online. >> after a few days, he has some leads. >> i was looking at a 1909 caramel card. and i'm going, okay, it's not identical. but this is too close.
they have an estimated value on this card of around 15,000. jamie: karl discovers that a similar ty cobb card recently sold for $40,000. >> and i got a box full of them and they're pristine. jamie: that's amazing. you're sitting on a bundle of money. >> yeah. at that point, the heart is starting to race. i'm thinking to myself, oh, my god. i have a million dollars sitting in a chair. >> a lot more than that, if that is, karl can confirm his cards are real. >> you're a little skeptical, you're looking forward to that one phone call that turns out to be gold. jamie: that's next. >> but first, our "strange inheritance" quiz question. which gets credit for setting off the rookie card craze? the 1968 nolan ryan.
yoyour friends have your back. your dog's definitely got your back. but who's got your back when you need legal help? we do. we're legalzoom, and over the last 10 years, we've helped millions of people protect their families and run their businesses. we have the right people on-hand to answer your questions, backed by a trusted network of attorneys. so visit us today for legal help you can count on. legalzoom. legal help is here. >> so which helped set off the rookie card craze? it's c. he didn't have the hall of fame career some predicted. but the cards remained popular.
jamie: while the grandchildren of karl and jenny hench are cleaning out the century old family home in ohio, they find a dust covered box with what appear to be vintage baseball cards. >> i'm seeing a tod ty cobb for $40,000. i'm looking at mine and saying, mine is better. jamie: the box karl found not only contains cobb known as the georgia peach, but all the greats of the era. it's dozens. in all, 800 cards, most in pristine condition. >> it takes it off a scope and realm that you're not quite sure how to handle it. jamie: step one, find out if the cards are real. karl reaches out to vintage cards expert peter in dallas. >> i received a phone
call, which was very cryptic. he didn't want to go into any details. on a daily basis, we receive phone calls from people who find cars. it's always reprints. jamie: peter says to text photos of the cards and he'll take a look when he gets the chance. >> when i got the first picture, i thought these were too good to be true. they looked amazing. i saw nothing about them that looked like they weren't real. the next plan, we talked about him sending me a sample of the cards. >> karl overnights eight cards to peter with a note attached. call me before you open. when the box arrives at heritage auction -- >> i gave him a call. there's that moment of silence that feels like ten minutes, but it's a matter of seconds. i open the box. pull out a large plastic holder. then there's the holy
[bleep] >> i was just floored because i had no idea what a 100-year baseball card looked real. >> at that moment, i pretty much know, yeah, these are real. >> karl has one more bombshell. >> so his next question is: do you have anymore? >> yes. hundreds. >> i would have been happy if it was just the eight cards. that's when you realize, this is the find of a lifetime. ♪ jamie: karl dubs the cards the black swam"black swamp find." they're quickly shipped to dallas on an armored truck and locked in a vault. the next step is to get each card officially graded on a scale of one to ten. karl goes with professional sports authenticator. i meet up with joe orlando, president of
psa at the national sports collector convention for a crash course in grading baseball cards. why is this one only a one? babe ruth can't be just a one. >> if you look at the card, you can see all the defects. multiple creases throughout the card. this is about as low as it can get. >> this one is higher? this is eight? is that considered mint? >> almost mint. but you can see tiny white pieces of wear on each corner. that's the difference between an eight, nine or ten. jamie: those tiny imperfections can make a difference of thousands of dollars. >> this one is worth roughly $100 or so. if a nine, probably north of 1,000. if it's a ten, north of 5,000. jamie: so what about the "black swamp find"? do karl's cards make the grade. >> what was your reaction when you saw
the first card? >> it was mind-blowing. jamie: before the find, the highest it ever gave to a card was a seven. karl's cards beat that in their first. >> it was a ty cobb. little did we know there were 15 more ty cobb 9's and, of course, hundreds of high-grade eight, nines, and even tens in the set. >> sounds pretty good. right? not so fast. it doubles the population of this type of card and the unprecedented size and quality of the find could crash the baseball collector's market. will karl's inheritance end up being too much of a good thing. >> if you were to flood the market with all of this at one time, it would certainly diminish the value of the entire find. >> that's next. >> here's another quiz question for you. what's the most ever paid for a babe ruth baseball card?
is it 78,000, 517,000, or $1.3 million? the answer in hey, girl. is it crazy that your soccer trophy is talking to you right now? it kinda is. it's as crazy as you not rolling over your old 401k. cue the horns... just harness the confidence it took you to win me and call td ameritrade's rollover consultants. they'll help with the hassle by guiding you through the whole process step by step. and they'll even call your old provider. it's easy. even she could do it. whatever, janet. for all the confidence you need td ameritrade. you got this.
cards even half that age. before the collecting craze in the 1980s, cards were simply fun things or to be used in flipping games. it will land either picture. you'll toss the card. if you match my card, you get to keep my card and your card. if you don't, i get to go home with your card. here goes. it's up. picture. i'm a winner. >> you're a winner. jamie: fortunately, for karl, his grandfather wasn't interested in such games, and the collection should easily be worth millions, if they play their cards right. you see, selling the so-called black swan find all at once could flood the market and drive prices down. >> because of the size of the collection and the quantity involved, there was concern about
the value. if there was one of each player, that would have been ideal. heritage auctions proposes a series of second sales to maximize the family's stake. >> to sell them by the set over a number of years. take our time. jamie: karl runs the estate on behalf of the 29 grandchildren. each family member can either join a consortium to sell the cards or keep their share as a family heirloom. >> did anybody keep the cards? yes, some of them did. >> most family members agreed to team and up sell the cards gradually. peter tal eastalliesy the numbers. nearly $3 million. for karl, it's a staggering sum. >> we're stunned. this is something we almost threw in a
dumpster. in baltimore camden park, they put the first 37 cards up for auction. >> they were the best of the best. the best graded cards out of everything we had graded. 1910e198010. the family sees one lot of nine cards go for $40,000. a second lot of 27 cards goes for 286,000. (?) but the real clean up hitter of the night, the only psa, ten mint, hall of famer, honus wagner in existence. 240,000 solid. anyone else? >> done. 240,00$240,000. >> we were flabbergasted. this is a wonderful gift from our grandfather and from our aunt. what more could you ask for? >> the family's total for the night: 566,000.
it's a very promising start. but they've also sold their best cards. does the black swan find have enough gas into it to get the gran the future of the market is never clear. but at t. rowe price, we can help guide your retirement savings. our experience is one reason 100% of our retirement funds beat their 10-year lipper averages. so wherever your long-term goals take you, we can help you feel confident. request a prospectus or summary prospectus with investment information, risks, fees and expenses to read and consider carefully before investing. call us or your advisor. t. rowe price. invest with confidence. ♪ by 1914 the dodge brothers quit the ford motor company and set out on their own. they believed in more, than the assembly line.
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>> now, back to "strange inheritance." jamie: karl kissner and his family are slowly selling off their "strange inheritance." 800 rare vintage baseball cards. the schekthe collection is valud around $3 million. the family still has plenty of high-grade hall of famers to sell. in october 2012 and may 2013, two online auctions with some help from legendary manager connie racked up
$419,000. in august 2013 in chicago, a psa minor brown pitches in to help the team ring in another 220k. in the big apple, february 2014, a psa, 8.5 johnny eve ever seen. johnny. two more online auctions raise the total to $1.7 million. jamie: on july 31st, 2014, i join karl and his cousin carla at the 35th national sports collectors convention in cleveland for their latest auction. >> got a fired up crowd here tonight. what do you think, karl? >> it's exciting watching everybody, and listening to the on floor bids. you get into the feel of it. the mood of it. >> the last person standing, get the item. >> apparently people have money.
at the end of tonight, you may too. jamie: up first for carla and karl tonight, the georgia peach. >> 730 ty cobb. mint nine. are you serious? yes, we are serious. 27,000. anybody else? >> when the auctioneer kind of slows down? you know it's getting -- it's getting good. >> yeah. >> sold at $28,000. >> congratulations, guys. give me five on that, yeah. jamie: now, stepping up to the plate, a psa9, honus wagner. >> come on, honus. >> sold at 33,000. the bidding ends at 33,750. >> yeah, very good. all right. jamie: their weekend earnings, including online sells, total
133,000, listing the "black swamp find" total to 1.85 million. [applauding] >> are you satisfied tonight? >> i'm estatic, the person that's buying it wants it and appreciates it. hhe will add it to his collection and maybe pass it on to his family. jamie: a box stored and forgotten in the attic for over a century, changes an industry forever along with the lives of the 20 hench grandchildren. so far the black swamp "black sp find" is like a slugger with -- well, on track to surpass the goal by peter. >> still ten more sets to sell. still averaging 10,000 a set. >> in the card collecting market, the game is not over until the last man is out. >> what would grandpa say? >> i think grandpa would be stunned, amazed, and pleased. i'm sure that he is. i'm sure that the whole
family is up there looking down with big smiles on their faces. jamie: was the "black swamp find" nearly history's most epic case of some guys mom throwing out his baseball card collection? karl thinks so. when he made his big discovery in the attic, he spied several wrinkled and grimy cards strewn among the rafters and the floorboards. karl believes that they went flying during one of his grandma jenny's cleaning purges. when she pitched boxes of junk right out the attic window, into a big mound below. thank goodness, she never got a hold of that one box in the corner. i'm jamie colby for "strange inheritance." thank you so much for joining us. remember, you can't take it with you. do you have a "strange
inheritance" story you'd like to share with us? we'd love to hear it. send me an email or go send me an email or go to our website, "strange (male narrator) now a paid presentation for meaningful beauty advanced by cindy crawford. (female narrator) with special appearances by debra messing. (male narrator) valerie bertinelli. (female narrator) christa miller. (male narrator) and stars from tv's "royal pains" and "the mentalist." and now, for 2015, our best offer ever, including $95 in free gifts. brought to you by guthy-renker. hi, everyone, i'm beauty and style journalist katrina szish on location in beverly hills. in just a few minutes we'll meet one of the most beautiful women in the world, supermodel cindy crawford. at age 45, cindy still looks impossibly young and gorgeous. (christa felts) oh, my god, she's just stunning. her skin is just amazing, and so i feel like